I saw this article today and I felt like discussing it, mainly because this is something we, as n00b Atheists here at the club, have been dealing with as we've been changing our goals and identity. Unfortunately, our club has shrunk significantly, and I've started to change how I've regarded our mission after realising my favourite part of being in Freethought was being with my friends. The core 5 of us always have a great time, and even though I'm unsure if the group will be around after I leave, I did enjoy the time we had together. Ironically, the trip down to see Dawkins is what got me pondering our groups role and how well we handled it. The name is "Freethought", but our original goal seems to have been just belittling religion and generally being arrogant in a way that likely didn't attract many people. Once there were fewer people in the group we relaxed and just spent time talking about books and science...fun times!
We were so excited to go to the Dawkins event, because the guy is a badass and what better way to meet cool, like-minded people? Unfortunately it didn't work out that way at all, and we were extremely put off by the composition of the crowd...either completely oblivious to who Dawkins is, and only there for extra credit, or so insufferably smug that it almost made you sick to talk to them. Now, I've been around my share of insufferably smug people, and am extremely guilty of it myself, but this was a bit overwhelming for all of us. We were giggling like fangirls while the people around us were discussing the reasons all those stupid Christians should be destroyed (forgive the awful generalisation!).
So now I'm beginning to understand the "just as bad as the Evangelicals" criticism...some atheists tend to group "Christians" into a group and make broad assumptions and comments about them when it's obviously not warrented. This bothers me about the "New Atheists"...I'll say nasty things about religion amoungst my friends, but I try to check myself when I start generalising them as a group, and acting as if anyone who believes in religion is stupid. At worst I believe their faith is unexamined. Anyway, enough of my rambling! Until next time!